This UK Intelligence Agency is a forward looking organisation. Most of their employees have specialist skills, one of which is project management. The intelligence agency helps them develop and work flexibly - in ways that suit them - so that they can give of their best.
This Government body had in place a Centre of Excellence Programme designed to create overall improvements in project and programme (PPM) capability. Training had been in place for three years and many of the managers were either PRINCE2® and/or MSP® accredited.
The organisation used CITI's profiling tools to understand the capability of project managers in order to match them to the varying degrees of project complexity. It was clear in some instances that skill gaps existed between the project manager and the demands of their project. It was also evident from our work on the development of a skills and competency model for the PPM community, that more sophisticated development approaches were required to meet specific development needs.
Approach to solution
Together with our client we decided to put in place a supportive coaching scheme for selected project managers. Key to the success of this was diagnosing the nature of the individual need - should the coaching focus on development needs or tactical project concerns? Using the coaching intervention model the resource manager and the CITI consultants identified the primary focus of the coaching.
To be successful, developmental interventions must be seen as relevant, and 'just-in-time', with a real commitment to taking part by the project manager. Short, 'speed-dating' interventions were used to identify the concerns, the appropriate style to be used and the commitment - these set the expectations on both sides, and matched the coach to the 'coachee'.
These 'speed-dates' were invaluable. As one CITI consultant coach commented: "...for one person it may be a directive (do this) approach, because they are on a high-risk track for their project and their skill levels and lack of confidence has 'paralysed' them. For another person it may be a supportive approach as they have a clear and distinct approach to their project. They are ready to be challenged and supported as they stretch themselves."
Within this UK intelligence agency a community of professional project managers has been formed. Complex projects are now routinely run by professional project managers, who feel able to handle them with confidence, and who recognise the benefits of sharing knowledge and ideas with other project professionals - exploring options, testing ideas, delivering results.
Models / tools used
CITI profiling tools and questionnaires Accredited training courses
"The classic training model, taking individuals out of the business to sit in a classroom for a week at a time, was not going to work for us. But at the same time, we knew we needed to raise our game in managing change. I have to say, your people are brilliant!"